Video: Vice President Kamala Harris Congratulates Mark Vande Hei on Record-setting Spaceflight

Video Caption: Vice President Kamala Harris recently spoke to astronaut Mark Vande Hei after he returned home from spending 355 days in space — the longest single spaceflight for a NASA astronaut.

Mark’s mission and research in space helps us better understand the effects of long-duration human spaceflight as we prepare for the Artemis missions to the Moon. As head of the National Space Council, VP Harris is working on our priorities in space, including building up America’s STEM workforce, addressing the climate crisis, and promoting rules and norms that govern space.

Learn more about Celestial Immunity, space station research that may help us treat diseases: https://go.nasa.gov/3END1kY

U.S. Commits to Not Conduct Direct-ascent Anti-satellite Tests

Vice President Kamala Harris delivers opening remarks at the first meeting of the National Space Council, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington. Chaired by Vice President Harris, the council’s role is to advise the President regarding national space policy and strategy, and ensuring the United States capitalizes on the opportunities presented by the country’s space activities. (Credits: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

New U.S. Commitment on Destructive Direct-Ascent Anti-Satellite Missile Testing

VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. (White House PR) — Today at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, Vice President Kamala Harris announced that the United States commits not to conduct destructive, direct-ascent anti-satellite (ASAT) missile testing, and that the United States seeks to establish this as a new international norm for responsible behavior in space. The Vice President also called on other nations to make similar commitments and to work together in establishing this as a norm, making the case that such efforts benefit all nations. 

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A Call For The United States Government To Lead International Efforts To Prohibit The Use Of Debris-Creating Anti-Satellite Weapons (ASATs)

Fig. 4: Estimated volume of space occupied by debris fragments during first day following intercept, with color depicting the relative likelihood of a fragment occupying that portion of space. (Credit: COMSPOC/CSSI volumetric analysis, with rendering by AGI, an Ansys Company.)

An open letter by Planet co-founders, Will Marshall and Robbie Schingler

For the last ten years, Planet has raised concerns about the impact destructive anti-satellite weapons (ASATs) have on a healthy space ecosystem. ASATs threaten operations in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), jeopardize astronauts’ safety, and risk destroying satellites that provide critical services to humanity. They are irresponsible. Today, we want to shed light on this important issue and urge the United States Government to lead an international effort to prohibit the use of debris-creating anti-satellite weapons (ASATs).

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SIA, AIAA Respond to National Space Council Meeting

Satellite Industry Association Applauds Inaugural Meeting of National Space Council Chaired by Vice President Harris

Washington, D.C. – The Satellite Industry Association (SIA) today applauded the inaugural meeting of the National Space Council chaired by United States Vice President Kamala Harris that took place at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, DC. Earlier in the day, the White House issued a copy of the executive order authorizing the National Space Council and set forth the Council’s membership, duties and responsibilities. It also released a document titled, “United States Space Priorities Framework” which outlines the Administration’s plans to, “develop and implement national space policy and strategy going forward.”

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Vice President Kamala Harris Highlights STEM in First National Space Council Meeting

Vice President Kamala Harris delivers opening remarks at the first meeting of the National Space Council, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington. Chaired by Vice President Harris, the council’s role is to advise the President regarding national space policy and strategy, and ensuring the United States capitalizes on the opportunities presented by the country’s space activities. (Credits: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Vice President Kamala Harris chaired the first National Space Council meeting of the Biden-Harris Administration Wednesday, Dec. 1 at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington. Prior to the meeting, President Biden expanded the number of participants of the council by executive order, reflecting the Biden-Harris administration’s broad priorities and creating the largest, most diverse space council in the nation’s history.

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Committee Leaders Question Biden Administration’s Efforts to Address Space Debris Issues

The scales of the space debris problem (Credit: ESA)

WASHINGTON (Senate Commerce Committee PR) – U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., ranking member and chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, along with Sens. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., and John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., ranking member and chair of the Subcommittee on Space and Science, today sent a letter requesting that Vice President Kamala Harris prioritize space debris issues in her role as chair of the National Space Council. The Senators also sent a letter to Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to inquire about the department’s outer space-related efforts following Russia’s destructive anti-satellite test two weeks ago.    

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Lucas, Babin Push Back Against NTSB Move to Expand Role into Commercial Space Accident Investigations

Part of SpaceShipTwo’s fuselage. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

WASHINGTON (Frank Lucas/Brian Babin PR) — House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas joined Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Ranking Member Brian Babin in a letter to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) requesting information on their attempts to expand their role in commercial space accident investigations. Concurrently, Babin introduced a resolution to reiterate that commercial space launch is a developmental activity, rather than a mode of transportation.

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Vice President Harris Announces Initiatives on Space and Cybersecurity with France

Kamala Harris

PARIS (White House PR) — Following her meeting with President Emmanuel Macron of France, Vice President Kamala Harris is announcing a number of collaborative initiatives that the United States will undertake alongside France and other countries to address global issues and emerging threats. She is announcing expanded cooperation on space and support for efforts to advance international cooperation in cybersecurity.  These initiatives underscore the U.S. commitment to work with allies and partners to take on the challenges of the 21st century.
 
Space
 
For decades, the United States and France have benefited from robust cooperation in space across our respective civil, commercial, and national security sectors.  Recognizing the growing importance of space in providing benefits to humanity, from tackling climate challenges and enabling human exploration of space and scientific discovery to ensuring sustainable economic development and security, our countries acknowledge the pivotal role international cooperation plays in sustaining the outer space environment so we may maximize the benefits space offers. Based on this shared vision and over 60 years of joint space activities, the United States and France will seek greater cooperation through the following initiatives:

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Vice President Harris to Visit NASA Goddard Today, Deliver Live Remarks

Editor’s Note: UPI reports that Harris will announce that the first meeting of the National Space Council under the Biden Administration will be held on Dec. 1.

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — Vice President Kamala Harris will visit NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland today, Nov. 5, to get a firsthand look at the agency’s work to combat the climate crisis and protect vulnerable communities.

The vice president will be joined by NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and leaders from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey. The group will tour climate-oriented space activities underway at Goddard and learn about collaboration among federal agencies on space missions that are central to tackling the climate crisis and improving our scientific understanding of Earth’s systems.

Following the tour, at around 4:45 p.m. EDT, the vice president will deliver remarks that will be streamed live on NASA Television, NASA social media, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

For more information about NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and the missions and activities it supports, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/goddard

This Week in Elon: Musk Mocks Biden Amid Cooler Political Climate, Federal Investigation of Tesla

Elon Musk (Credit: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

It seems that Elon Musk is a bit peeved that President Joe Biden didn’t congratulate SpaceX on completing the privately-funded Inspiration4 crewed mission last week and helping to raise $210 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“He’s still sleeping,” Musk wrote in response to a question from a Twitter follower about Biden’s silence. It was a clear reference to ex-President Donald Trump’s description of him as “sleepy Joe” during the campaign.

The remark set off the usual battle on social media. Musk’s legion of defenders called the omission unforgivable. Musk’s critics noted his willingness to amply praise authoritarian China where Musk’s Tesla Motors has a manufacturing plant even as he called U.S. officials “fascists” for their efforts to contain the deadly COVID-19 virus.

For his part, Jared Isaacman, the billionaire who funded and commanded the Inspiration4 flight, says Biden’s silence is no big deal.

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Call for Nominations: National Space Council Users’ Advisory Group

Eileen Collins and Buzz Aldrin during a meeting of the National Space Council Users Advisory Group. (Credit: NASA)

Users’ Advisory Group (UAG)

The Users’ Advisory Group (UAG) is a federal advisory committee comprised of experts from outside the United States Government (USG) created as part of the National Space Council (NSpC).  The NSpC is an Executive Branch interagency coordinating committee chaired by the Vice President, which is tasked with advising and assisting the President on national space policy and strategy.  UAG members provide counsel on any and all space policy issues.  The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has sponsored the UAG on behalf of the NSpC since 2018.

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White House Taps Chirag Parikh to Serve as National Space Council Executive Secretary

Chirag Parikh

The White House has tapped space policy expert Chirag Parikh to become executive secretary of the National Space Council. He will oversee day-to-day operations of the council, which helps to formulate, coordinate and implement space policies across the federal government. Vice President Kamala Harris chairs the council.

Parikh was director of space policy at the National Security Council from 2010-16, where he oversaw creation of the Obama Administration’s 2010 National Space Policy. The Obama Administration did not have a National Space Council; the Trump Administration revived it in 2017 after a 24-year hiatus.

Parikh left the White House in 2016 to serve as director of the Office of Source Strategies at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. He was responsible for worldwide imagery collection operations and adjudicated requirements for all U.S. space-based imagery intelligence systems.

Parikh became senior director of Microsoft’s Azure Space in 2020, where he focused on integrating space applications with Microsoft’s cloud computing platform.

Prior to joining the Obama White House in 2010, Parikh served as deputy national intelligence officer for science and technology at the National Intelligence Council and principle intelligence analyst for space systems at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center.

Parikh graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering.

Florida Member of House Science Committee is Severely Factually Challenged

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Florida Congressman Michael Waltz is a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. In January, he completed a two-year on the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee. So, he should know what he’s talking about on space.

Alas, he is severely factually challenged about the very thing he is supposedly an expert. Here is the assessment he gave to Fox News the other day about NASA and the U.S. space program:

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Vice President Harris Swears in NASA Administrator Sen. Bill Nelson

Bill Nelson is sworn in as NASA administrator. From left to right, Pam Melroy, current nominee for NASA deputy administrator, former NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Bill Nelson Jr., son of Bill Nelson, Nan Ellen Nelson, daughter of Nelson, former Senator Bill Nelson, his wife, Grace Nelson, and Vice President Kamala Harris pose for a photo after Nelson was ceremonially sworn in as the 14th NASA administrator, Monday, May 3, 2021, at the Ceremonial Office in the Old Executive Office Building in Washington. A Moon rock collected by astronaut John Young during the Apollo 16 mission was also on display. (Credits: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Sen. Bill Nelson took office as the 14th administrator of NASA Monday, after he was given the oath of office by Vice President Kamala Harris during a ceremony at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington.

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Vice President Harris to Lead National Space Council

Harris will swear in former Sen. Bill Nelson as the next NASA Administrator on Monday morning (details TBA). The Senate unanimously approved his nomination on Thursday.

Nelson issued the following statement on Saturday:

“The Vice President is the perfect person to lead the federal government’s space policy, which is increasingly complex, with many nations in space.

“Vice President Lyndon Johnson was the first chair of the National Space Council when America initially ventured beyond Earth. Now, Vice President Harris will coordinate our nation’s efforts to ensure America continues to lead in space. It is an exciting time for our space program.”

The Trump Administration revived the National Space Council after a 24-year gap. The Biden Administration has announced it will keep the council’s Users’ Advisory Group, which was established by the last administration.